The Orville: Old Wounds (Pilot Episode)
September 11, 2017 7:40 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Set in the year 2418, pilot Ed Mercer of the Planetary Union divorces from his wife Kelly after he catches her cheating on him. One year later Ed learns that he got promoted to be Captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploration ship. To Ed's annoyance the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife Kelly. While on their first mission, a routine re-supply delivery to a scientific station, the station and the Orville get attacked by aliens that want to steal a device that can accelerate time.
posted by fimbulvetr (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mean, all things considered I thought it was okay. Some of it felt a little cardboard, but the universe they created seemed mostly believable. I chuckled once or twice. It kept me entertained for the whole episode. I'll probably watch the next one. It's a little bit of throw-away TV, but nobody else is catering to my futuristic utopian sci-fi needs.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:27 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

The "technocryptoguffin" was insultingly stupid (the time speeder-upper).

The way it was used defies the law of entr even stupid sense. Rest of what I thought.
posted by porpoise at 8:09 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lorrrrrrrrrrrrrd that was terrible I mean just awful. I feel bad for people who left better series for this.

There were interesting little bits, but so much MacFarlane. So. Much. It felt like he was a half a heartbeat away from slipping into a full on damn Stewie the whole show.
posted by Kyol at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2017

I laughed at the anti-banana ray bit. And the marbles (because I actually saw someone doing that for real) and another joke I'm to sleepy to recall (not a good sign).

Not sure if that's a good hit-or-miss because I still can't tell how straight the show is when it comes to comedy, and my Star Trek knowledge is casually watching TNG and Voyager in the late 90s to know how much of this is straight Star Trek, other than what I've said on the blue: falls in the uncanny valley of a MacFarlane comedy and his love for Star Trek.

I do wonder if they're planning some teleporter hijinks just as an excuse to have Jim Jefferies as a botched teleportation of Seth + someone Australian. Because given the opportunity, that's exactly what I would do.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:04 PM on September 12, 2017

I didn't think this was as terrible as I'd been led to expect, but mostly it just made me really miss Other Space
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:04 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

There were a few times Penny Johnson Jerald's doctor character was rolling her eyes when another character did or said something stupid, and I wasn't entirely sure if it was her character rolling her eyes, or if it was Jerald herself rolling her eyes at appearing in this.

Then I remembered that she's been really good in everything else I've seen her in (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 24), so I'm going to assume she's too much of a professional to roll her eyes on camera for any reason other than it being in character, as tempting as it might be to conclude otherwise.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:07 PM on September 12, 2017

I didn't think this was as terrible as I'd been led to expect

Not without many reasons, but I think a lot of think pieces were already going to crap on the show regardless of quality because it's a MacFarlane gig. I've seen people claiming they'd never watch Cosmos 2014 because he was the executive producer, or crap on American Dad (which improved a lot over time, particularly after moving to TBS) without watching it, which kinda puts me in a position where I'd rather see for myself than actually care for what people say, because (once again, not without reasons) there's plenty of people with a visceral hate for anything he does.

I think it will be lucky to make it to two seasons, it's not the greatest show around or as good and revolutionary as he and others (including Braga) think, but it's passable.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:25 PM on September 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

I liked this.

It was not too much stupid comedy "how the f did these people get in to space", but the normal people who did pass their academy training but were not Entreprise material get in to space. Not idiots, not competency porn. Sort of "i fail at parking but i can still do my job normal"
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 2:46 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The biggest problem with the show is - surprise! - Fox didn't know how to advertise it. On the Sci-Fi Seriousness Spectrum, ranging from Star Trek to Red Dwarf, they set us up to expect something akin to Galaxy Quest or Firefly, but Orville seems to rank much closer to the Trek end of the scale.

The second biggest problem is the acting. But that was to be expected, and something I can overlook for a fun show. It's more difficult to overlook acting problems on a serious show.

When people bring their serious problems into a tense, serious, life-or-death situation... well, that's one of 4 gags that I will laugh at every time. So going to the Krill bad guy for counseling while he is trying to kill them totally worked for me.

Sure, the speed-up-time-anator didn't make sense from a law of physics standpoint, but most sci-fi TV show concepts don't either. The tree destroying the ship was a funny sight-gag, even if expected. The plotting and setup for it was relatively (heh) well done.

The banana gag was great. The quick-fire joking between Mercer and Grayson was Sorkin-esque. I'm excited to see characters who are self-aware, and the kind of petty dialogue that actually happens instead of the stiff and formal stuff we are used to.

Honestly, the visuals were fantastic for a TV sci-fi show. There was clear influence from a few other sources, but enough originality to make it their own universe.

Oh! And the music was possibly the best part of the episode! Keep that up!
posted by 2ht at 4:34 AM on September 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

I hope this show ends quickly and is forgotten. I found it unfunny. A bad knockoff brand that leaves a lingering bad taste in your mouth for a long while.
posted by Catblack at 6:18 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

or crap on American Dad (which improved a lot over time, particularly after moving to TBS)

the better episodes of American Dad! are, without question, the best work coming out of the entire MacFarlaneverse
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:18 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

The show is clearly both a reverent homage to TNG and a respite from the relentless grimdark that suffuses most TV and movie sci-fi these days. I enjoyed it despite the pilot's flaws. I have few preconceptions about MacFarlane because I never watched his animated shows, which always seemed too derivative of the Simpsons for sustained attention.

Interesting that they're bucking the prestige TV trend and foregoing season-long arcs in favor of old-style episodic television. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.
posted by killdevil at 10:21 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yeah, and don't take my "oh god this is awful" above as a clue that I dislike MacFarlane - I don't, I think Family Guy has jumped the shark (in a lot of the same sorts of ways the Simpsons has), and I lost track of American Dad! sometime in the last few years, but I've always thought he was OK, and I don't necessarily mind his brand of humor, but this.. I dunno, too many jokes falling completely flat, humor based on audience discomfort, a soundtrack that just kept trying to come to the front, pastiche characters that don't quite commit to the pastiche, neither comedy nor straight drama, action scenes that felt completely disinterested in the action, I dunno. I'll give it a shot because it's not like I have anything else coming out for a few weeks and I don't need to prioritize my viewing yet.

It had moments, but it's going to need more ... _something_ before it turns into Legends of Tomorrow with a bigger budget.
posted by Kyol at 11:33 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't regret watching it, but it definitely helped that I went in with very low expectations.

So, if you walk up to a tree that's 20 feet tall and paint an X on the side of its trunk 4 feet from the ground, then wait until the tree grows to be 25 feet tall, how high up on the tree is the X then?

SPOILER: The answer may depend on whether or not the tree is extracting all the carbon it needs to grow from a Krill starship deck under a time-nonsensification field and is being pushed upwards through the more flimsy decks above by the growth of its root system.
posted by sfenders at 2:17 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was drinking while watching this and also had my expectations lowered to near zero, but I thought it...wasn't bad? I mean it was uneven, the humor especially so, and the whole ex wife thing was pretty atrocious (aside from when they were using the Kril captain for counseling), but I don't know, the scenery was beautiful, the main crew of the ship seem to have interesting stories to tell, and I think that it might work out the kinks and be a tolerable show. I'll keep watching anyway, I think.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:25 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed it, but then I *like* reading Star Trek fanfiction. I'll keep with it and see where it goes.
posted by Mogur at 6:10 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nothing wrecks a MacFarlane show like... MacFarlane himself. It is like watching Woody Allen playing himself as a 75 year old lothario, only less funny.
posted by zaelic at 4:40 AM on September 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

So, I re-watched this with my 10-year old son last night. On first watch, I thought it was okay, but a bit bland. And MacFarlane definitely should have cast someone other than himself as the captain of the ship, as he just takes the air out of every scene he is in. However, my son's reaction to the show has made me rethink my assessment. He thought it was exciting and awesome and wanted to watch another episode as soon as it was over. As long as MacFarlane can keep his instincts for bawdy humour in check, this show may fill a long-empty gap. A space opera that is not grim-dark, full of body horror and graphic violence, and is actually something you can watch with the family. I love The Expanse, Killjoys, and Dark Matter, but I'm not watching those with my kids. I'm not holding much hope that Star Trek: Discovery is not going to be grimdark.

If they can keep the bawdy humour from getting out of hand.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:24 AM on September 15, 2017

Was it the best thing ever put on TV? No, but it made us laugh, and sometimes that's all you need at the end of a hard week.
posted by spinturtle at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

So many dick jokes. Do men really talk about their genitals that much?

Because it's so Star Trekky I had problems adjusting to the banter, the crudeness, and yeah, the lack of competence. Maybe I'll like it more after a few episodes, if I can convince my family to watch it with me (one person didn't make it through the opening credits). I'm so desperate for Trek that I'll watch whatever comes close. I laughed more than I thought I would, and yelled at the TV as much as expected.

I resent that if a species has only one sex, that means everyone in that species is male. I'm not surprised, but I'm resentful.

Yet another sci fi TV show where women leaders are called "sir."

I am not comfortable with the African American character being so casual, calling people "man," drinking soda, and shaping up to be Tom Paris's (or whatever his name is) Black Best Friend.

The thing about the super strength, while interesting, doesn't make sense as explained.

Why did the bad guys take off their helmets before getting into a fight?
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:33 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Everything about this had a sheen of amateurishness to it. The directing, the acting (even from people who are good in other things, so I think the directing is to blame here), the editing... everything about it is just not quite right.

Seth MacFarlane is just a void. He's like a guy who won a contest to be on his favorite show and doesn't know what to do. If only it were Luke MacFarlane instead! That would rock.

I was trying to figure out why the humor was falling flat. I mean, the lazy stereotyping was a big part of it of course. Shows like Killjoys, Dark Matter, Agents of SHIELD (and on and on) manage to have humorous banter... but I realized that those shows don't break flow for the banter, it's all just part of their world. This show sets the jokes up as, well, jokes, and it just calls attention to how un-synthesized the humorous and serious parts of the show are.

I really liked Bortus, and the Krill commander was excellent.

This show would be so much better without MacFarlane involved, but I guess he's the reason for it existing in the first place, so...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:58 PM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, also, I appreciate fimbulvetr's comment about it not being grimdark, but I feel like all the jokes about balls and ballsacks etc. would give me second thoughts about showing it to kids. I'm not really sure who they intend this to appeal to, which is almost never a good sign.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:47 PM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, not nearly as bad as the I'd been led to expect. It's not the full-on comedy that it was advertised to be, but a not-so-serious Star Trek with average people who joke around a lot is an okay thing. It's not going to win any awards, but it's kind of fun for what it is. I could see it growing into a show with reasonably good quality. It's not worse than Encounter at Farpoint.

I am kind of amazed that they managed to produce this without legal issues. It's Star Trek: The Next Generation: People who Made B's in Starfleet Academy.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:38 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

a respite from the relentless grimdark


a show whose central premise is "surprise, your fresh ex-husband who hates you is your commander, and also the commander of everyone else on the SHIP YOU BOTH WORK AND LIVE ON" is not a respite from anything except perhaps 'not screaming'

like it gives one the nausea shivers even before you ever hear the whispered name "seth macfarlane." that is one of the most upsetting premises I have heard of, and I have heard of both Hannibal and Breaking Bad, among others. grimdark barely covers it. hell is more like it.

guess it's all in whom one considers to be an audience identification character.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:31 PM on September 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Or on how one stretches the definition of "grimdark" to suit their judgment about other people.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:59 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think the premis stinks, but the conciet is that she requested a transfer to his ship for *reasons*, not "surprise your ex husband is now your commander".
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:29 AM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't think I watched the same show as everyone else losing their minds on the internet (if in fact they actually watched it before getting their hate on) because this was basically a better episode of Trek (as Trek) than most of the first season of TNG. Like ok you have a problem with a speedy-time ray but not like a virus that makes everyone drunk..?

As Trek (that is allowed to be funny) this hasn't really happened since TOS--no the one joke every other episode of DS9 doesn't count. And this feels a lot more like TOS-funny than GalaxyQuest-funny, which IS FINE.

I think a lot of people were sold a very different show by the Fox trailer, which... you should look up some of the original TNG trailers.
posted by danny the boy at 9:32 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The moment when I felt like this show had promise is when the chief scientist dude keeps going on about his tree project and the captain is like "god why can't you just tell me why you brought me here already", because that is basically what everyone has yelled at their TV's whilst watching a long dragging episode of TNG.

And little funny details like the security officer being the last person to exit that scene and looking back and exchanging weird glances with the alien scientist working at the table. That's why I'm baffled at the charges of amateurism... like amateur is lingering on this scene for no reason. Comedy is showing everyone file out and giving you that weird little payoff.

This is basically the Trek universe if it were populated by real, flawed people. For some, the self-awareness is funny, and for others... space shouldn't be so undignified.
posted by danny the boy at 9:53 PM on September 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

I watched this thinking "What the hell am I watching?" the whole time.

I was expecting more of a comedy, I guess.

I eventually figured out what must have happened: Seth MacFarlane and some friends were getting really drunk and/or stoned one day, and they watched some Star Trek episodes, and Seth said "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if there was still Star Trek? And if I was the captain?"

And then he was a millionaire so he went ahead and made that happen.

Having said all that, I did kind of like it. It just seemed a bit fake, like a Star Trek episode staring Jimmy Kimmel that was made as a joke for the Jimmy Kimmel show.
posted by mmoncur at 10:00 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I realize that we're at a cultural moment where people are a) sick of Seth McFarlane's smarmy, juvenile cartoons and b) increasingly willing to call him on the carpet for his persistent sexism and repetitive writing... So people hate him right now. I get that.

But I kinda like The Orville. It's a slavishly loyal homage to Star Trek: The Next Generation but with dick jokes. He really nails the music, the tone, the kind of plots, etc. It's a very loving homage. And some of the dick jokes are funny.

I am emphatically not telling you it's a great show. And I'm not trying to talk you out of hating Seth McFarlane too much to watch. But if you have a certain affection for Trek *and* a penchant to laugh at dick jokes, you should give it a shot. I've only seen two episodes, but both were good. Puerile humor aside, its guiding vibe is Trekkian optimism, not sexism or racism or what have you.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:26 PM on October 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

I was mildly entertained. But who the hell is Seth MacFarlane and how did he get cast as the lead actor? Is he like the producer's son-in-law or something? Punchable face, can't act, and yet the director seems to have put him front and center in every scene.
posted by Nelson at 11:02 AM on October 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, you sweet summer child. ~20 years of Family Guy, I guess, has him in a position where he can suggest a vanity low-key Trek and it just sort of happens. Does he know where everybody's skeletons are or is he just generally seen as a reasonably safe production bet? I don't know that that has been answered in any particularly satisfactory manner.
posted by Kyol at 11:33 AM on October 16, 2017

OK, but now explain how Family Guy ever got renewed.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:24 PM on October 16, 2017

Family Guy is likely to be one of the cheapest shows Fox has as they can easily make an episode where, oh, 80% of the lines are read by a single person, who also happens to be one of the exec producers.

That did not happen with American Dad, although he still voices the two leads and maybe that's why it was salvaged on TBS, and on Cleveland, where he voiced only one secondary character... And maybe that's why it got cancelled.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2017

« Older Star Trek: Voyager: Revulsion...   |  The Deuce: Pilot... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments